Marriage is a complex beast; sometimes it's full of happiness and other times it goes really, really wrong -- which is why so much time and energy is devoted to studying it.
We've rounded up some of the most fascinating marriage findings of 2013. Check them out below.
A study published in November 2013
in the journal Science says newlyweds' gut feelings about their relationship
can accurately predict their likelihood of marital happiness in the long run.
James K. McNulty, an associate professor of psychology, studied 135 newlywed couples for four year and found that feelings initially verbalized in interviews with the couples had little to no effect on their marital satisfaction, despite how in love they said they were, but subconscious gut-level feelings played a major role.
Couples who had positive gut feelings (measured by a computer test) were much happier in their nuptials over time, versus the couples who had negative gut-level reactions.
Bad sleep can make your marital fights worse.
A study out of UC Berkeley
published in May 2013 in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science found that couples are more likely to fight
after having a bad night's sleep.
Researchers conducted two experiments using 149 couples. In both experiments, the people who reported having worse sleep also had more conflicts and worse conflict-resolution skills the next day.
A November 2013 study
out of UC Berkeley found that a wife's ability to regain composure
after an argument was far more important than her husband's in regards to long-term marital satisfaction.
Lian Bloch, an assistant professor at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto, California, analyzed more than 80 couples and took into consideration the couples' body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and topics of discussion following points of contention. They discovered wives' recovery time after conflicts had a larger impact on the relationship than the husbands' both in the long and short term thanks to their ability to discuss and offer solutions. But the study showed the opposite is the case for married men.
“Ironically, this may not work so well for husbands, whose wives often criticize them for leaping into problem-solving mode too quickly," explained the researchers.
Being married is 20 times more important to a person's happiness than their earnings and 13 times more important than owning a home, according to the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics,
who surveyed 165,000 British people
about their life satisfaction and anxiety levels.
The survey, published in May 2013, found that being married was the third most important factor related to happiness and well-being, after health and employment status. Being married had a greater impact on happiness than religion and having children, and married people reported being happier than those who are cohabitating, single, divorced or widowed.
According to a survey from September 2013
conducted by U.K. law firm Slater & Gordon, married couples are happiest
in their third year of marriage.
Researchers polled 2,000 people and determined that a couple's first year of marriage was typically filled with post-wedding happiness, and the second year of marriage was dedicated to getting to know each one another.
The third year was found to be the happiest time in a couple's marriage, which the researchers attribute to becoming comfortable within the relationship and starting to plan a family. Couples were also used to sharing finances by their third year together.
The couples polled reported that the fifth year of marriage was a difficult one due to tiredness, increased workloads, and for some couples, children.
According to a study
published in the August 2013 issue of Psychological Science, people perceive their spouse’s voice
more clearly than other unfamiliar voices.
Researchers asked married couples between the ages of 44 and 79 to record themselves reading a script. Then, each participant listened to their partner's recording, as it played simultaneously with a recording of an unfamiliar voice of the same age and gender.
They found that the subjects performed better at accurately perceiving their spouse's voice over the unfamiliar one.